Today, Nashville got what we’ve been waiting for: the acquisition of a local tech startup.
Cell Journalist, a SaaS media platform, was just acquired by Canadian startup ScribbleLive. Cell Journalist is the leading social media platform provider serving television, radio stations and newspapers. They were founded in 2007 here in Nashville. ScribbleLive is a content media engagement platform, connecting people to media.
I asked CEO Vince Mifsud of ScribbleLive to talk about his experience with Cell Journalist and ScibbleLive. “Simply stated, love to see companies and people succeed. Expectations are high on myself and people around me always working towards doing better.”
Vince emphasized the importance of taking the time to develop a great business model. “I do often advise start up CEOs. Generally, my advice is focused on getting the business model right. It’s really hard to adjust if you have the wrong model. Starting and growing these businesses take a tremendous amount of work along with ability to handle multiple facets of a business. Make sure the advice you’re getting comes from self-made business people that have built businesses, I find that it’s most relevant.”
Previously the brothers started and sold a parking services company in Vermont/upstate New York.
Clients range from local News Channels 2,4,5, to national news broadcasting like The Weather Channel. Cell Journalist is backed by ConduIT Corporation, a prominent technology investment company. The investment was a combination of local angels, friends and family and investors at ConduIT, but according to Parker, the company was considered bootstrapped.
Cell Journalist is staying here in Nashville, growing the team over time. Part of the plan is to expand the team and explore new verticals. The name will change to ScribbleLive.
Parker and Colin talked a great deal to me about Nashville’s landscape, raising capital, bootstrapping, making traction and getting acquired by an international company. They joked that they attended the “The school of hard knocks,” but that joke was tongue and cheek, since we know bootstrapping and/or raising capital in Nashville wasn’t easy seven years ago and certainly isn’t easy now.
Bottom line is that the companies that came out to play a risky game are finally seeing a reward. The acquisition of
the first another tech startup here validates the SaaS model and will encourage the investment community to at least look at more SaaS companies. Hopefully this story is also encouraging for any tech startup working now to keep swinging for the fences.
- Revenue 2013: 1.1million
- Runrate over the year was 1.35 million
- There were five employees at the time of acquisition.
When I asked Parker about the matchup with ScribbleLive, he said “We are in line for the types of customers we go after. A lot of it is collaborative story telling.”
According to Parker and Colin, the content is up to the broadcasters and the user submissions. Cell Journalist simply provides the platform. They don’t have a ton of competitors, but Chute, FileMobile, and TagBoard all are in the same realm of SaaS startups.
Parker credited the success of Cell Journalist to the brother’s whole team. “Colin and I navigate the media landscape. It was up to us and our team to make it successful.”
This Nashville tech startup acquisition validates the return on investment Nashville is finally seeing for taking a risk in SaaS startups. Cell Journalist is the beginning of a domino effect in Nashville, and surely the start of a string of B2B, SaaS and consumer tech successes.